UK’s action plan to help foreign skilled workers to ‘pause’ journey to citizenship

To enable them to return home and contribute their expertise

3rd March 2010:
The UK Government has launched an international action plan, which looks at proposals to allow skilled temporary residents in the UK to ‘pause’ their journey to citizenship so that they can return home and contribute their expertise.

The action plan – entitled ‘International challenges, international solutions: managing the movement of people and goods’ – is expected to “allow developing nations the chance to benefit from these skilled workers without interfering with the workers’ path to citizenship in the UK”.

Borders and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas added: ‘There is no question that migration has brought benefits to the UK economy. Many of those who come here plug hard-to-fill jobs gaps, playing a key role in running public services especially in health and education.

‘But while Britain is benefiting, it is important that we do not deprive other countries of the skilled people they need most. It’s in our long-term interest that they have the doctors, nurses and teachers who are so crucial to their development.

‘That’s why, particularly in these difficult times, we must ensure those that do come here are given the opportunity to help back home and invest their new-found skills.’

The plan also aims at taking “the fight against human traffickers, forgers and foreign criminals to the source”. With this, the government has made it clear that it will be “working more closely than ever with foreign governments”.

Launching the joint strategy by the Home Office and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the UK Border Agency said: `Preventing illegal immigration in the source country is at the heart of a new international strategy.

`The government is committed to putting migration at the heart of international relationships by working more closely than ever with foreign governments, sharing data and intelligence with enforcement agencies abroad, and ensuring that developing countries have the skills they need to thrive’.

Woolas added: ‘The message is clear, we want the smugglers, traffickers and forgers out there to know, wherever they are in the world, we are watching them. Paying people traffickers is a rip-off.

‘Three-quarters of the world’s population now need a visa to come to Britain, and the UK Border Agency officers are working in 135 different countries to stop organised criminals in their tracks.

‘Our enforcement work must go hand in hand with circular migration, and sharing our skills and training with developing nations.’

Through the points-based system and advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (a panel of independent economists), the government will continue to ensure that Britain only gets the skilled workers it needs, and no more.

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